Hood River — Hood River County will remain at the Extreme Risk Level with 29 other Oregon counties through Dec. 31, Hood River County Health Department announced Dec. 18.

The health department reported a record week, with an increase of 113 new COVID-19 cases in the county, the second record-breaking number in as many weeks, beating last week’s record of 85.

Health department also reported that staff continues work on an outbreak at Hood River Care Center (HRCC), where approximately 18 employees and 26 residents have tested positive.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the eighth death of a Hood River County resident from COVID-19,” said a press release. “Four of these were deaths in COVID-19 positive residents of HRCC, not all of which were directly due to COVID.

“Vaccines are one of the most important and effective ways you can protect yourself, your family, your neighbors and your community,” continued the press release. “The safety of all vaccines are studied thoroughly in clinical trials. Once healthcare personnel and other members of the public begin receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, CDC and FDA will continue to closely monitor vaccine safety. All vaccine will be distributed according to Oregon’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan.”

The health department anticipates there will be enough vaccine to provide first doses this month to about 100,000 people in Oregon, with second doses following in January. Since the vaccine will take time to be distributed widely, it’s important to continue taking all safety measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community, said a press release.

“Vaccine arrival gives us hope that the pandemic will end, but in the meantime, we need to continue safety measures to keep the virus from spreading,” said the press release.

Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen has emphasized that vaccinations against COVID-19 are still months away for most Oregonians, so vigilance in practicing basic prevention measures — wearing masks, physical distancing, avoiding gatherings, staying home if sick — must continue.

Keep informed with OHA’s vaccine update pages in English and Spanish. You can learn more about COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring.

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